Tranquility Lake set easy fractions on the Hollywood Park turf course and edged away from Dianehill in the stretch to win the $108,600 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her 2001 debut Sunday.
Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac has been confirmed as a starter for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Trainer Simon Bray said Alex Solis would ride Startac in the Derby. Startac will be the first Derby entrant for Bray, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Jockey Pat Day won four straight races at Churchill Downs Sunday capped by a winning ride on Royal Strand in the 1 1/16-mile feature race.
Saturday at Churchill Downs
Winstar Farms' License Fee was allowed to set a moderate pace and then drew away to a five-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park. Under Larry Melancon, License Fee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.11 on a fast track. She earned $180,000 for the win, her 14th in 40 career starts, to boost her career earnings past the $1 million mark.
No matter where Invisible Ink finishes in the Kentucky Derby, he will depart Louisville a winner. Just the fact that the son of Thunder Gulch, nicknamed "Inky," is here and considered a legitimate contender is enough of a miracle to those who stood by this colt and never gave up hope when all seemed hopeless. By all rights, Invisible Ink should be nothing more than a tragic memory in the hearts and minds of the people who raised him and broke him and treated him. Instead, he is at Churchill Downs, about to run in America's greatest race. And all because he refused to die, thanks to a handful of people who refused to let him die.
John Dunlop-trained Golden Snake made his seasonal debut a winning one Sunday at Longchamp, taking the 10 1/2 furlong Prix Ganay (Fr-I) by three lengths over 4-year-old filly Egyptband. With the Flow was another three lengths back, with Little Rock fourth in the nine-horse field.
Throw 'em in a hat and pick one. Regardless of which one you choose you'll have the work of the day. That's how similar this morning's four Derby works were. In fact, the times of all four horses – Dollar Bill, Balto Star, Thunder Blitz, and Invisible Ink – were within a fifth of a second of each other. For the seventh morning in a row, since we arrived, the dawn brought bright skies and mild to crisp temperatures. More of the same is predicted through the week, with showers arriving, you guessed it, on Friday.
While the focus at Churchill Downs Sunday morning continued to be on the major contenders for the Kentucky Derby, there was more than normal attention devoted to the 3-year-old fillies that will compete in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai Millennium, who has been diagnosed with an acute case of equine grass sickness, remains in stable condition at a Newmarket clinic. The 5-year-old stallion was sent there Monday, April 21, from Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud near Newmarket and underwent surgery that day and the following day because of complications.
The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Balto Star and Invisible Ink turned in workouts Sunday morning that their trainer labeled "excellent" as the two continued to progress toward next Saturday's Kentucky Derby. In other Sunday workouts, Thunder Blitz worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 and Dollar Bill was timed in 1:00 flat for the same distance.
Two 3-year-olds being shipped to Churchill Downs for other races on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week could join the field for the season's first classic. Trainer Tony Richey said Boyce Roberts' Arctic Boy may run in the Derby rather than a conditioned allowance race on Derby Day he is being pointed toward. Richey said a final decision on Derby plans for the son of Maria's Mon will be made following a Monday workout under jockey Calvin Borel. Meanwhile, Churchill officials said trainer Simon Bray could also decide to run Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac in the Derby rather than the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile grass test on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card.
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